, Derry, New Hampshire


April 11, 2013

He's singing the birthday blues

My boyfriend and I recently broke up and he’s asking for the laptop he bought me as a gift back. He has the receipt. It was delivered to our apartment and he said, “Happy Birthday,” as he handed it to me.

We both used it. Now that we broke up he wants it back. I refuse, as I use it for school and work, and I have no other computer. He does. He is saying he will take me to court. Does he have a case against me?

Three legal elements must exist to complete a valid gift. If they all exist, a gift is irrevocable. That means the giver can’t get it back. The elements are: (1) donative intent (2) delivery, or giving of the gift, and (3) acceptance of the gift.

In your case, intent seems clear where he said, “Happy Birthday,” as he handed you the computer. That also appears to complete the delivery requirement. Based on what you’ve written, it sounds like you accepted the gift and used it as your own. So, where all three elements are there you have an irrevocable gift.

It sounds like either a control issue or possibly he left some files on the computer. So, offer to either provide the files by moving them onto a thumb drive, or transfer them to him through one of the free file sharing applications like Dropbox or LogMeIn.

How many times can you file the same civil case if it has not been heard in the court room yet? On the first court date, I couldn’t be there and on the second date the other party and I came to an agreement in the before entering the court. We left the court together without notifying them of our decision. Can the case be filed again?

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